Best Springtime HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners
Best Springtime HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners
Springtime HVAC Maintenance Tips Every Homeowner Needs to Know
If you are a new homeowner, or if you need a quick reminder, spring is a preferred period of time to complete a preventative maintenance plan for your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. There is a short lull between the heating season and the cooling season that is perfect for such a project since it will not be uncomfortable with the system completely shut down. Some Springtime HVAC Maintenance tasks you may choose to do yourself, but some tasks must be completed by a trained and licensed professional technician. Here is a shortlist of required Springtime HVAC Maintenance tasks that will keep your system running efficiently for many years.
Indoor Springtime HVAC Maintenance Items
The most important task is also the easiest task—change your air filter every three months, once per quarter, or at the beginning of each season—your pick. Keeping your filter in good shape will contribute to clean indoor air, efficient function of your system, and longevity of usefulness.
Find the space where return air enters the HVAC system, probably at the base of the cabinet. Locate the filter, usually a light cardboard frame with a paper mess center. Do you notice the dirty side? That is airborne particles, such as dust and pollen, that your filter is trapping. Too much dust will restrict airflow. The size of the filter will be written on each side. Find a replacement filter of the proper size in hardware or home improvement stores; a filter rated MERV 11 is a good high-efficiency pleated filter. Replacement is as simple as sliding the old filter out, sliding the new filter in, and disposing of the old filter.
If your system uses a humidifier during the winter months make sure you turn the water supply off before turning the air conditioner on. The humidifier releases water vapor into the air since heat tends to dry furniture (and people) below the ideal humidity level. The air conditioner removes water vapor from the air to keep furniture, surfaces (and people) from feeling sticky because of high humidity. Some systems are equipped with controls that automatically turn off the water supply when the air conditioner is activated, but if not, turn off the water to your humidifier.
Dust might have accumulated and will need to be cleaned from the evaporator coils. Open the central cabinet and locate a network of copper pipes. With a soft cloth or brush wipe any dust from the pipes. If left unchecked, the water vapor that forms on this network of tubing during the cooling season, will wash the dust down to the drip pan and eventually to the drain line. Locate the drain pan underneath and vacuum up the accumulated debris.
Clean the 1-inch drain line that carries that moisture removed from the air by the evaporator coils to the outside of your home. With a shop vac, suction any debris or buildup that has accumulated inside the drain line. Replace the drain to its proper location and pour a cup of vinegar into the drain pan. This will help prevent mold or algae build-up.
Outdoor Springtime HVAC Maintenance Items
Inspect the general condition of the outdoor condenser unit.
Make sure the condenser unit is level. Erosion might cause a section of the concrete pad to sink. Not only does it look bad, but it may also cause the lubricating oil in the compressor to separate and interrupt the flow of the refrigerant gases. Use a level and raise the sunken portion of the slab to correct this situation.
The condenser will need about 2’ on each side to ensure adequate airflow to cool the refrigerant gases. Trim shrubs and weeds well away from the walls of the condenser unit. Remove leaves and sticks from around the base of the unit and clean away any grass clippings stuck to the side. Turn the mower away from the condenser unit as you mow to prevent blowing grass deep into the small spaces on each side. Your furnace may use the outdoor unit for heating, so keep the space clean all year round.
Use a garden hose and gently clean the exterior of the condenser unit. Notice the small spaces on all sides with a network of aluminum tubes. The tubes will contain a hot refrigerant gas during the air conditioning process. It is vitally important that this gas cools quickly to prevent overheating. Dirt that blows into these spaces can reduce airflow and cause overheating. Clean away the dirt, but do not use a power washer.
Straighten any fins that have been bent over. The fins are extensions of the aluminum tubes, designed to disperse the heat over a broader surface. When the fins are bent, they cannot disperse the heat properly and tend to block the spaces designed for airflow. Use a stiff wire brush, pulled parallel to the direction of the fins. Make sure to pull gently to avoid damaging the aluminum tubing—a costly mistake.
There are some Springtime HVAC Maintenance tasks that must be completed by a professional. If are unable or nervous about completing any of these tasks, a professional will complete them as a part of a preventative maintenance visit. Further tasks include:
Complete a system inspection to ensure efficient function
Check refrigerant level and inspect for leaks. Replace refrigerant if necessary.
Check the compressor and blower motor
Replace worn belts, parts, and connections
Test the thermostat and replace the batteries if necessary
Questions About Springtime HVAC Maintenance?
Our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to answer your Springtime HVAC Maintenance questions.
We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at 281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Springtime HVAC Maintenance, repair, and installation needs.